The definition of counterproductive

I’m not a UFO conspiracy guy myself, but it’s not hard to see how this sort of government behavior is going to confirm the more radical X-File-style UFOlogists in their suspicions:

Britain’s official UFO investigation unit and hotline were closed down at the start of December. Since then reports of strange sights in the skies sent to the MoD have been kept for 30 days before being thrown out, the newly released policy document shows. This stance was adopted so defence officials would not have to publish the information in response to freedom of information (FoI) requests or pass it to the National Archives.

It says: ”Reported sightings received from other sources should be answered by a standard letter and… should be retained for 30 days and then destroyed, largely removing any future FoI liability and negating the need to release future files post-November 30 2009.”

The memo reveals that MoD chiefs made a point of not discussing their plans to close the UFO unit with other countries because of fears this could be perceived as part of a global cover-up.

It states: ”We have deliberately avoided formal approaches to other Governments on this issue. Such approaches would become public when the relevant UFO files are released, and would be viewed by ‘ufologists’ as evidence of international collaboration and conspiracy.”

Actually, this approach could work well for the “climate scientists” too. Gather the data, then throw it out as soon as you’ve generated your hockey stick graph so that you don’t have to show it to anyone. Now, I know that most people are idiots but this is really astonishing. Hiding and destroying information is not exactly the most effective means of convincing the general public that there is nothing to hide.

That’s a negative?

This is one of the more positive two-star reviews I’ve ever happened to see:

Overall, Mr Day’s book is too detailed, verbose, and essentially reads too much like an academic level text. Good points made at the end of his book could have been arrived at in fewer pages. This book would do well in a graduate level econ. class.

It’s true, the points made at the end actually don’t require most of the preceding chapters because it’s not necessary to understand the rival economic theories in order to understand the range of forecasts by various economists and the policies that I recommend. RGD is a book about economic theory and recent economic history more than it is one dedicated to practical policy measures. As for it being too detailed and verbose, to paraphrase the immortal words of Cecil Vyse, I can only plead guilty to it being such a book.

Anyhow, as a Japanese reviewer concludes, it’s a pretty good value even so: “I just want to add that the Kindle version is currently $1.59, which is about the price of a 20oz soda. Needless to say, this was the best $1.59 I have spent since gas was less than a dollar a gallon.”

The unfalsifiable "science"

I couldn’t agree more with these commenters at Brad DeLong’s place:

I’d say the point is not that economists have come up with a lot of false hypotheses. That’s normal and just the way hypotheses are. The point is that the status of those so-called hypotheses is not reduced by empirical evidence. As noted by Quiggin, one problem is that they aren’t hypotheses at all but rather statements so vague that they can’t be tested. The other problem is that many economists draw policy implications of statements so vague that they can’t be tested.

Of course, economics isn’t the only “science” that begins with the letter E that suffers from these problems. What’s worse about economics, though, is that they already have at least three alternative hypotheses that work much better on both logical and predictive bases than mainstream Samuelsonianism or Efficient Markets.

None of the mainstream economists saw the financial crisis of 2008 coming. None of them realize that we are in a giant economic contraction now, not an economic recovery. None of them are paying any attention to the commercial real estate debt crisis or understand how that is going to affect the economy. (Here’s a hint: it could be bigger than the total Finance and Household sectors debt-deflation of $1.1 trillion to date and has the potential to take down up to 40% of the banking system in the next three years.) And despite some public tearing of hair-shirts, as per the famous article in The Econonomist, no mainstream economists have shown any signs of abandoning their failed hypotheses, policies, statistics, or econometric models.